Everything about a car accident is distressing. The sounds of squealing brakes and crunching metal, the impact of the collision, and the chaotic aftermath. Victims have to address medical concerns, make insurance reports, and deal with potential legal disputes. Trying to manage these critical issues without legal help is a mistake.
If you have been in a car accident, you need someone with experience and a comprehensive understanding of North Carolina’s laws and legal processes on your side. The at-fault party and their insurance companies will take advantage of your vulnerability, putting your ability to collect compensation at risk. Protect yourself and your settlement by partnering with the Rocky Mount car accident lawyers from Ricci Law Firm.
Causes of Rocky Mount Car Accidents
Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, and while any car accident is one too many, North Carolina sees more than their share. The state ranks 19th out of all 50 states and Washington D.C. for the highest number of car accidents, according to World Population Review.
Data collected by North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (DOT) shows North Carolina saw 276,026 motor-vehicle accidents in a recent year.
In these accidents:
- 1,783 people were killed
- 114,722 people were injured
Of those killed:
- 1,218 were vehicle drivers
- 273 were vehicle passengers
- 202 were motorcycle operators
- 22 were pedal cyclists, and 262 were pedestrians
In Nash and Edgecombe counties, there were 23 and 16 fatalities, respectively.
How North Carolina’s Fault Laws Can Affect Your Car Settlement
North Carolina’s contributory negligence system does not make it easy for victims to collect compensation through personal injury claims. Victims filing claims–the plaintiffs in an injury case can only collect a settlement if they can prove two things:
- They are not at all responsible for causing the accident leading to their injuries
- The party they are filing against, the at-fault party, was negligent, and that negligence is the reason for the victims’ injuries and damages
If the victims are even minimally at fault, they can be denied a settlement. If you file against an at-fault party, you can expect that party to counter with an assertion of your contributory negligence. With help from experienced Rocky Mount car accident attorneys, you can fight back against that assertion and work to get the settlement you deserve.
How to Fight Against Contributory Negligence Claims
There are ways to fight against contributory negligence. First, your lawyer will investigate the accidents with extreme diligence. That investigation may produce evidence showing you are in no way responsible for the accident and the at-fault party or parties hold all the blame.
Additionally, your attorney may argue:
- Gross Negligence: If the defendant–the party you filed against–acted with gross negligence, with the intent of hurting you or with complete indifference to your safety, you may not be liable for contributory negligence.
- Last Clear Chance Doctrine: According to this rule, if you acted with reasonable care leading up to the accident, and if the defendant had an opportunity to prevent the accident, you may avoid liability for contributory negligence.
- Proximate Cause Doctrine: Under this doctrine, the court decides if the plaintiff’s injuries were the foreseeable outcome of the defendant’s action. If the court determines the defendant should have reasonably foreseen the injurious results of their actions, they may be counted fully liable.
Why You Need a Settlement After a Rocky Mount Car Accident
North Carolina has driver’s insurance laws requiring all drivers to have minimum coverage for property damage, bodily injury, and accidents with uninsured motorists. While this coverage may cover some of your losses after an accident, your damages may exceed your coverage. Further, if the accident is someone else’s fault, you and your insurance policy should not be responsible for covering those damages. The party at fault owes you compensation which you can receive through a personal injury settlement.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents produce a variety of injuries, and even those considered “moderate” can have long-term and costly effects on victims. More serious injuries can render victims permanently disabled and their lives completely changed.
- Broken Bones: Some broken bones heal fully. Still, they require expensive medical treatment and time away from working and earning. Others do not heal properly, and victims have limited use or mobility or chronic pain. Some bone breaks lead to life-threatening infections that can cause complications throughout the body.
- Lacerations and Amputations: When vehicles collide, the metal and hard plastics twist or break, creating jagged or sharp edges that slice through skin and soft tissue. Deep cuts can leave lasting nerve and muscle damage or cause infections. The deepest cuts may lead to amputation.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): When the jolts and blows from a car accident affect the head, brain injuries can result. Victims of TBIs can be left with cognitive and/or physical disabilities as the brain can no longer learn, remember, process information, think critically, or send messages allowing the body’s physical systems to function properly.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The spinal cord is vulnerable to damage in a car accident. These injuries are typically devastating, resulting in partial or total paralysis, and compromised or destroyed function of body systems.
- Burns: Whether caused by flames sparked by fuel explosions or the friction from scraping against the ground, burns are painful and serious injuries. They usually require a series of surgeries, can cause infections, can limit the use of the affected body part, and leave disfiguring scars.
Clearly, these injuries come with physical, emotional, and financial costs. The Rocky Mount car accident lawyers from Ricci Law Firm can help you recover those costs.
How a Settlement Can Help
Your experienced car accident lawyer in Rocky Mount will evaluate your losses with precision, considering all the ways your car accident has affected you and demanding a settlement adequate to cover those losses.
Any financial losses you sustain from a car accident are economic damages. They include your:
- Medical Expenses: Immediate costs and future care needs. Your attorney will consult with your medical team and other experts to determine your future expenses
- Lost Income: Recovery requires time away from work, which means you lose wages or sick days. If your injuries are permanent, you may never return to work, and your lost future earnings and benefits will be factored into your settlement demand
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property is damaged or destroyed in the accident, a settlement compensates you for repairs or the value of the destroyed property
Your accident will probably incur other financial costs. For example, you may need to pay for transportation if your vehicle is destroyed or if injuries prevent you from driving. You may not be able to fulfill other family or household responsibilities you typically perform and will have to hire others to complete those duties for you. Your lawyer will fight to have the costs covered in your settlement.
Though non-economic damages do not come with a clear financial cost, they bring significant–even devastating–losses. They are the emotional and psychological trauma that follows an accident or accompanies physical pain. They are the losses to your quality of life when you can no longer take part in social gatherings, recreational activities, vacations, special events, or care for yourself independently.
These losses demand acknowledgment. While a financial award cannot “fix” the problems, it can bring a measure of justice and provide financial access to treatments, therapies, or other opportunities to increase your quality of life.
How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Rocky Mount Can Help
After a car accident, you need to get medical attention. Even if you do not think you need emergency care, have your injuries diagnosed by a doctor. It is important to remember the effects of some injuries take time to appear, and the shock of an accident can mask pain. Failure to get medical care could cause your condition to worsen, even become fatal, and damage your potential case by giving the at-fault party a way to accuse your decision to delay care as causing your deteriorated condition, not the accident.
Once your immediate medical needs are being addressed, reach out to Ricci Law Firm and partner with our Rocky Mount car accident attorneys.
Ricci Law Firm has the experience, resources, and knowledge to carry out an exhaustive investigation of the accident. We consult with accident reconstructionists, vehicle experts, traffic and road analysts, and other experts who can help figure out why the accident happened and who must be held responsible.
The investigation may show the accident was caused by another driver’s error or recklessness, poorly maintained road or traffic conditions, defective vehicles or parts, or some other cause. Whatever the case, once the cause and at-fault party are identified, your attorney will file a claim against that party or parties.
While your attorneys investigate, they will gather evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. This evidence may come from:
- Witness testimony
- Traffic, security, or dashboard cameras
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Data from involved vehicles’ electronic data recorders (if available)
- Driver toxicology tests, if applicable
- Any other relevant sources of information
Your car accidents attorneys in Rocky Mount will exhaust every possibility in collecting evidence from your accident.
North Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. This means you have three years from the accident date to file against the at-fault party. That does not mean you should wait three years to connect with an attorney.
A prompt partnership with an attorney allows your attorney time to identify the at-fault party and gather evidence to support your injury claim. And while many personal injury cases settle out of court, filing a legal claim is a way for your attorney to send a message to the at-fault party’s insurance company, that you mean business and are willing to fight in court for a fair settlement.
Your attorney will send the at-fault party’s insurance and other representatives a settlement demand. The at-fault party’s insurance company will most likely respond with a lower counteroffer, and negotiations will continue until both sides agree to an amount. You should not attempt to manage these negotiations on your own.
In fact, you should not have any conversations with the at-fault party’s insurance companies at all. The at-fault party’s insurance adjusters will work hard to saddle you with liability for the accident to avoid the responsibility of a payout. Remember, even bearing minimal fault under contributory negligence can leave you without the chance to collect the compensation you deserve.
Do not put your settlement at risk. Leave all negotiations to the skilled car accident lawyers at Ricci Law Firm. We have been handling insurance companies for decades. We see their unsavory tactics coming from miles away and will take them down, protecting your settlement from unfair reductions.
Most personal injury cases settle before they ever reach a courtroom, and your attorney will work hard to make this happen in your case. However, sometimes the at-fault party just refuses to play fair. They may not show up for negotiations, delay negotiations, or fail to offer a reasonable settlement amount.
If this happens in your case, your attorney will apprise you of all your options, offering sound guidance regarding the best way forward. Should you choose to take the case to trial, Ricci Law Firm will provide superior representation at every court proceeding.
Do Not Worry About Legal Fees
Believe it or not, you do not have to worry about legal fees when you partner with Ricci Law Firm. Legal representation is expensive, but we work on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay any upfront fees. When you receive your settlement, a percentage of that settlement serves as our payment. And, your initial case review is free, so connecting with us comes at no risk to you.
You Can Count on Us
When Ricci Law Firm takes your case, we put all our resources, legal knowledge, and experience into a successful outcome. Fighting for you is our priority. To schedule a free case review, call or send us a message, and we will respond within 24 hours. We know your time is valuable and your stress is high. Count on the Rocky Mount car accident lawyers to provide compassionate attention and fierce advocacy. Put your resources into healing, and we will put ours into securing your settlement.
Visit Us at Our Rocky Mount Office
301 S Church St Suite 3, Rocky Mount, NC 27804